No business exists in a vacuum and, regardless of the size of the organisation or what sector it’s in, issues remain the same and the experience and knowledge of other leaders can be invaluable.
It’s for this reason that Yellowyoyo has launched The Lunch, a quarterly event that will bring together some of the biggest names in the business community to discuss their thoughts on the current climate in a relaxed and informal setting.
Joining Bryan Wright, Al Salehian and Amanda Wright from Yellowyoyo for The Lunch in March were current Mayor of Milton Keynes, Amanda Marlow; Ian Stuart, CEO of Destination MK; Precious Zumbika-Lwanga, founder of Carus Advisory Services, non-exec at MK University Hospital and trustee of the MK Community Foundation; Maya Joseph-Hussain, CEO of MK Safety Centre; Kristian Mackie, MK:U Innovation Hub Manager; and Frazer Arnott, Sales Director of All Things Business.
The theme for the inaugural gathering, held at The Swan, Salford, Milton Keynes, was Opportunities for Leadership in 2023, and the topic delivered a lively discussion around the expectations of the modern-day workforce, the changing face of business in a post-pandemic world, and how management and leadership styles have to develop in light of an evolving business landscape.
Amanda Wright, Creative Director of Yellowyoyo, said:
“The idea behind The Lunch isn’t new to Yellowyoyo, as in the past we’ve held similar events in London. We’re excited to be relaunching what were popular gatherings, this time in Milton Keynes, and to bringing together business leaders in a relaxed setting to share opinions and highlight the issues we all face.
“The first event was a great success and gave everyone plenty of food for thought. We’re looking forward to inviting our next cohort of guests in June, this time with a different theme, and to creating a space where local leaders can come together to learn from one another, with Chatham House rules ensuring that everyone is comfortable to speak openly and honestly.”
Among the topics discussed was how to ensure that your processes or management style works for the business and the individuals within it, particularly with regard to the approach to mental health and wellbeing, including how to recognise red flags and how important it is for leaders to identify what the issues might be and take responsibility. An agreed shared opinion was that ‘a happy workforce is a productive workforce’.
Within that topic, discussion turned to the issues that surround the move towards hybrid working and ensuring the right balance when offering employees the option to not be in the workplace every day. It was agreed that this could only be successful with clear and open lines of communication, and with those working remotely feeling involved and productive, with clear of guidelines as to what’s expected of them – without feeling constantly monitored – and of the measures that would be taken if things don’t go as planned.
Also voiced was that, in a world where employees from younger generations are driven more by the ethos and values of a company than financial remuneration, the idea of a Service Level Agreement for staff, in the same way you’d have one for customers, would be a way to ascertain the wants and needs from both sides of the employer-employee relationship.
Further discussion revolved around leadership styles – leading from the back rather than the front and trusting people to do so in their own way; that education and business must work collaboratively to ensure that what our schools, colleges and universities focus on aligns with business needs; how the wrong environment can breed toxicity; and how hierarchical structures can impede communication and collaboration, including strategies that are more likely to ensure success.
Following the event, Amanda Marlow said:
“There were so many things discussed, from equity in employment and education right through to AI technology. It was a fascinating afternoon and left me with lots to consider. If you get invited to The Lunch by Yellowyoyo, then go!”
Precious Zumbika-Lwanga added:
“What an afternoon! Yellowyoyo have found a way to bring together the right mix of people to drive those thought-provoking conversations that challenge leaders today in a safe comfortable environment. I thoroughly enjoyed the lunch; the discussions were so enriching. Thank you.”
Find out more about Yellowyoyo at yellowyoyo.co.uk
Photography courtesy of Jane Russell